Jon Stewart Takes Over the Late Show to Rant About GOP and Fox News Trump Contortions

a few of the topics covered:

The Republican convention, Donald Trump, Fox News, the GOP, Jon Stewart, republican gymnastics, the Roger Ailes resignation, Sean Hannity, The Late Show, twists, teleprompters, Ivanka, narcissists, blue collar billionaires & how that’s not a thing, elitism, who’s a Christian, Religion, PopeX immigration

A New Year’s Resolution Challenge for All – Always Augment Your Intelligence

The other day I saw someone online boast about how they knew some obscure English etymology fact as they proclaimed that they ‘didn’t even have to look it up!’ Their pride in their knowledge of a trivial fact was a revelation for me: my generation usually takes great pride in their knowledge of facts, as if knowing something obscure were of value by itself. However does knowing facts matter as much in this day and age, and does knowing more facts than your neighbor make your life better anymore than having more beer caps would?

Remember when you memorized kingdoms, phylums, orders, species in that branching tree of life? That's all been uprooted and it's better and more useful to look up the clade and phylogeny of species now.
Remember when you memorized kingdoms, phylums, orders, species in that branching tree of life? That’s all been uprooted and it’s better and more useful to look up the clade and phylogeny of species now.

Before you automatically object, please take a moment to weigh some values against the facts you treasure.

First – Is it better to know things, or is it better to know how to know new things? Is it better to commit things to memory, or is it better to commit patterns, learning tools, logic, faces, friends, beautiful moments, and art to memory? Is the knowledge that you have as important as the journey to gain it?

Second – Any bare fact in and of itself is pretty trivial – and gaining that fact is more trivial still. This thudded home to me with great force on my last vacation as I watched a couple unfold a map, and pore over it, trying to find some location. Meanwhile their teen kept trying to interject and they kept hushing her. It took the teen pushing her phone screen with a pinpointed map on it in her parents face for them to recognize that she had just asked her phone and found the spot they’d both been arguing over and trying to find for ten minutes. She’d done it in seconds.

Third – Our memories are fallible, and we all have built in biases. These are inescapable conditions of being human. What we think we know is sometimes wrong. e.g. My wife tells me I’m wrong a lot. I think it was Socrates who said something akin to “The unexamined life is not worth living” so why don’t you examine your assumptions and “knowledge” on occasion?

Fourth: Our biases aren’t all socially evolved conditions of being human, some are built in by purposeful lies. That’s known as propaganda, and propaganda is driven by fear and hate. Propaganda only works with the ignorant, or the with the willfully ignorant who never test their knowledge, challenge their assumptions, or question what they hear.

Fifth: Your human perceptions are also flawed, maybe that song’s not really about a cross-eyed bear. (mondegreen – you could look it up.)

So why think you know some fact, or take a guess, when instead you can just ask Google, Siri, Alex, or even Bing? Why not double check even if you think you know? When I thought I knew the quote author above I was a bit wrong…. Yes, it was Socrates sort of, but only as paraphrased by Plato’s recollection of his speech at his trial. I just learned something new that I thought I already knew. So there’s the power of augmenting your intelligence. Finding that out was as simple as asking my pad.

Perhaps to my generation facts are of more value simply because of the efforts you had to go to just to obtain them – as my many trips to the library for my high school debate team attest to… nowadays finding things out has become trivial with all of the online data tools and search engines that we have at our beck and call.

In this millenium why shouldn’t you Google, ask Siri, or Alexa, almost anything just to double check? Why wouldn’t you augment your intelligence with the biggest brain and knowledge base on the planet: the Internet? Please take a New Year’s resolution to start asking Google and Siri more, start augmenting your feeble human intelligence, in this coming year stop handicapping your brain friends. Be not proud of what you know – instead be proud that you are smart enough to look it up.

Crossposted to .

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO): “Oregon Spirit” (Performed By Lisa Loeb)

I’m normally averse to profanity at this website, but in this case the curses and profanity are so richly deserved that I must post it. One other thing: good recovery at the Federal health care site (,) I’m glad that they could serve the healthcare sign up needs for Oregonians.

Warning: NSFW

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO): "Oregon Spirit" (Performed By Lisa Loeb) – YouTube.

More on this IT debacle at Information Week.

Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet – NSA, Berkman Center Panel Discussion

A good discussion on what’s right and what’s wrong with the current NSA rule sets and oversight. It starts dry but gets very interesting, please stick with it to the end.

The long-term viability of an unowned, open Internet remains in question. Any analysis of where the Internet is headed as a protocol and a platform must take into account the activities of both public and private entities that see the Internet as a source of intelligence — and a field of contention. Yochai Benkler, Bruce Schneier, and Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center are joined by John DeLong and Anne Neuberger of the National Security Agency in a conversation moderated by Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher on the future of an open internet in the face of challenges to privacy in an unsecure world.
More info on this event here:…

This talk was co-sponsored by: the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Law School American Civil Liberties Union, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, National Security Journal, and National Security and Law Association.


Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

via Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet – YouTube.

Post Panamax? What’s that?

The Sanko Royal passes through the narrow Gatun Locks in 2008

Great things are happening all around us, but the average person is not noticing them. How many have heard about the widening of the Panama canal, or the effects that will have on shipping? Slated to complete in 2015 the “Post-Panamax” shipping world will be different, and three US ports are making ready, including the port of Miami.

One of the biggest drills in the world finished drilling the second of two underwater tunnels in Miami. The project aims to boost the city’s seaport, and give Miami an economic lift when the Panama Canal is widened.

Great Tripod Found at Crick Camera Store

This past week I got a new camera tripod, and it’s really sort of wonderful. It’s manufactured by Benro, and marketed as “Mefoto”. The best thing about it besides the amazing stability in a light tripod is the fact that it folds up so small. I’m able to fit it into an airline carry on bag because the legs flip back on the body. You can also attach just a leg to the center post to make it turn into a monopod.

Here’s what it looks like at Amazon, but the best news is that I found a local camera store that matched the Amazon price when Amazon had a back order wait of over two weeks.

Crick Camera store is the best one I’ve seen this side of B&H, and they have a wonderful staff who areĀ conversantĀ in everything photographic. When I mentioned how I lost my eyepiece while putting a card in it to block the light, they knew why I would want to do that for wide angle astro-photography as just one instance.

Not only did they steal a march on Amazon who had to back order the Benro tripod (mid May was the arrival I got quoted,) but they also had everything else I needed. The atmosphere was relaxed, cordial, and not snooty as some photography stores get when they cater to pros. So hats off to Crick – I was really impressed and will be back often.

President Obama’s Statement On Attack On Libyan Embassy

President Obama’s Statement On Attack On Libyan Embassy – YouTube.

ReDigi Sued by Capitol / EMI

This is a key case in digital rights law — one of the biggest issues users have with digital media butts heads with the industries’ desire to sue anyone who could possibly be copying anything. Whether we are talking books, movies, songs, or any form of digital art the industry is trying to limit your ownership of your copy, and ReDigi is trying to break down that faux ownership barrier that the industry erects.

If you come over to my house I can lend you a physical book or CD that I own, or I can give it to you, or I can sell it to you all legally*. You can’t do that with e-books or songs. You can’t even do it with your wife, son, or daughter, which is really ludicrous. E.g. the only way to “share” a book between two household kindles is to deregister it on one account, and move it to another. For amazon there isn’t a shared bookshelf in the house like there is with your physical books. The really bad news is that the “deregister/register to spouse’s account” trick doesn’t work with Fire and the newer Amazon appliances, as they wipe content when moving between accounts. So this case is seminal, and everyone should watch it closely.

In the iTunes store, the hit song “Someone Like You” by Adele sells for $1.29. Head over to ReDigi, an online marketplace where people can resell the music files they’ve purchased, and there’s the track for only 59 cents.
It’s the very same soulful tune. The difference is that ReDigi calls the copy on its site “used” or “recycled” (it was originally sold on iTunes). These are terms usually applied to physical goods like worn novels or unwanted CDs, not the growing volume of songs, books, and games composed of easily shared, everlasting bits. ReDigi’s plans–and the legal debate they have generated–touch on the changing nature of ownership in an increasingly digital age (see “A Cloud over Ownership”).

The Massachusetts-based startup is applying a concept of ownership ingrained in U.S. law: that a person who buys creative work can resell the originally purchased copy. “You buy it, and you own it. You should be able to sell it,” says ReDigi chief technology officer Larry Rudolph, who is also a computer science researcher on leave from MIT. “If you steal it, you shouldn’t be able to sell it. It’s very simple.”

But Capitol Records, a division of the music giant EMI, is now suing ReDigi, accusing it of being a “clearinghouse for copyright infringement.” The Recording Industry Association of America has also sent the company a cease-and-desist order. “While ReDigi touts its service as the equivalent of a used record store, that analogy is inapplicable: used record stores do not make copies to fill up their shelves,” Capitol’s filing states.

Read the rest

* The bonus the industry seems to ignore: people lend the things they truly love because they want to share that experience with their friends. When the friend doesn’t return it, you end up buying another copy for yourself. I’ve lost track of the numbers of copies of Babel-17 / Empire Star and Dangerous Visions that I’ve lent to friends.

Post Modern Me

According to my results in the Pew survey talked about in the video below I fall into the “Post Modern” category of political typology. I owe how I got here to a strange progression of revelations over the past few years about my former political fellow travelers in the GOP and the extremism and zealotry they support.

I walked away from the new millennium definition of “Conservative” simply because it involves being a hateful busybody for God, anti science, and harshly anti human rights; it also meant knowingly allying with groups that are well beyond the pail. Here’s the political typology survey if you wish to take it and be surprised before you watch the video.

Climategate mark 2 — the quotes and the context